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Pinellas County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are monitoring concentrations of Red Tide that have been detected in water samples taken off county beaches.
There are no beach closures for Pinellas County beaches, and the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County has not issued any beach warnings. Satellite imagery shows that the current bloom is patchy.
Red Tide can cause respiratory irritation in higher concentrations, especially when the wind is blowing onshore. Pinellas County contributes to the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast tool for anyone considering a beach visit. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater maintains a beach status dashboard that also includes this information at www.beachesupdate.com.
While there are too many variables for experts to predict whether this bloom will dissipate or worsen, Pinellas County is prepared to alert the public of potential health impacts and clean up dead fish if the situation worsens.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely in coordination with municipal and state partners,” said Kelli Hammer Levy, Director of Pinellas County Public Works.
“We’re not anywhere near the impacts we saw in 2018, but we’re watching this closely from the land, the sea, and the air. We’ll keep our community informed and provide necessary support as needed.”
Minor fish kills have been reported in onshore, offshore and in inland waterway locations as the bloom has moved north to Sand Key in Clearwater. Residents can report fish kills to FWC through the FWC Reporter app, by calling 800-636-0511 or by submitting a report online. Residents who find dead fish near their boat dock can retrieve them with a skimmer and dispose of them with their regular trash.
Occurrences of Red Tide in the Gulf of Mexico have been documented for centuries, but blooms can be worsened by excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous. In Pinellas County, fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus cannot be used or sold through Sept. 30, and phosphorus cannot be used any time of year unless a soil test confirms that it is needed.